Gibbons Joins New Pro Bono Initiative to Help Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19


July 2, 2020

Gibbons P.C., led by the Gibbons Diversity Initiative (GDI) and the Gibbons Cares pro bono program, is proud to announce the firm’s newest pro bono effort, a partnership with the “Small Businesses Need Us” program, which was recently launched by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) to assist women and minority small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

IFEL created Small Businesses Need Us in response to the struggle many small businesses are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related business shutdowns and slowdowns. With restricted operations, interruptions in supply chains, and decreased sales and profits, these businesses may find themselves unable to afford the services they need to stay afloat, including legal services. Small Businesses Need Us aims to mobilize and activate professionals throughout the business community to pool their experience to help small businesses survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Jill Johnson, IFEL CEO, said, “While financial capital is critical in this crisis, small business owners also have to steady the ship and consider new destinations. We are calling on business professionals to volunteer their expertise and skills to help small business owners address immediate needs, create pivot strategies, and develop a plan to operate in a social distancing environment. It’s time for us to get off the sidelines and get in the game to help save small businesses.”

Through the initiative, volunteers with various specialties required for day-to-day business operations, including legal service providers, are organized into cross-functional teams and matched with participating small businesses based on those organizations’ specific needs. All work is done remotely via phone and video conferencing. Volunteers can choose to work on defined projects, donate a set number of hours across projects, answer questions online, or offer in-kind products or services. Gibbons attorneys will have to opportunity to assist a variety of small women- and minority-owned enterprises in a wide range of legal practice areas, including corporate, employment, real estate, intellectual property, and data privacy and security, among other types of legal services these businesses may need.

“Through our pro bono service, our goal is to help keep these businesses open and save the jobs that they create for the people in Newark and other New Jersey communities,” said Mary Frances Palisano, Chair of the Gibbons Pro Bono Committee and the firm’s Pro Bono Coordinator.

“GDI has been, for 13 years, a platform for policies and programming to achieve, maintain, and expand diversity not only at Gibbons but throughout the legal and business communities,” noted Robert Johnson, the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer. “Our partnership with Small Businesses Need Us is a new and exciting way for GDI to realize its vision.”

For more information on “Small Businesses Need Us” and to sign up, visit

About The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL), founded in 2002, is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We are experts in creating and implementing small business programming in support of larger economic development objectives. Our services and programs help ambitious “every day” entrepreneurs gain access to the knowledge, networks, and capital necessary to succeed in business.